Sightings for September 2014

September 30th

There was still some movement today but it was much quieter than of late with just 240 Swallow, 152 Meadow Pipit, 8 Jay, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Grey Wagtail and a few House Martin over Hengistbury.  A Firecrest was in the wood by the first bend together with 10 Goldcrest and, across the area, 70 Chiffchaff, 11 Wheatear, 9 Blackcap and 1 Whitethroat.  There had also been an influx of Stonechat with a combined total of around 30 birds from both sides of the harbour.  A Common Gull was on the HHC mudbar at low tide while 2 Mediterranean Gull were seen, a first year bird over Wick and an adult on Stanpit.  Wader news from Hengistbury is of the 5 Ruff on Solent Meads Golf Course, the Whimbrel on Wick Hams and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight plus, in Holloway's Dock, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank and another Bar-tailed Godwit.  On Stanpit there were just 45 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit.  The harbour total for Brent Goose remains at 24.

September 29th

Kestrel – Alan Crockard

There were a few highlights today, not least a Wryneck at the southern end of the North Scrubs this morning. Apologies to the finder of that bird for inexcusably missing the ouzel from yesterday’s post. In addition, a Merlin was over Whitepits and a Short-eared Owl came in-off and headed along the sandspit, while a Nuthatch that was first heard calling from the Wood also eventually moved over the Beach Huts. Early fog and light wind made for a south-easterly passage that included: a Woodlark, 19 Skylark, 9 Tree Pipit, 1400 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 730 alba Wagtail, 51 Song Thrush, 1400 Swallow, 220 House Martin and 320 Linnet. Later, the wind moved more to the west and the remaining movement headed into it; namely, 3 Song Thrush and a Rock Pipit in-off the sea, plus a further ‘rockit’ over the head, as well as two travelling Sparrowhawk, 200 Swallow and 120 Meadow Pipit. Meanwhile, settled passerines across the area came to: a Grasshopper Warbler on the Long Field, a Whinchat on the West Field, 5 Wheatear, a Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, 47 Blackcap and 85 Chiffchaff. The pick of the waders were 6 Ruff on the HHC mudbar at low tide, but also 4 Greenshank, a Whimbrel and 9 Black-tailed Godwit from Hengistbury, and 35 Dunlin at Stanpit. To wrap up, there were 4 Sandwich Tern offshore and the regular Tufted Duck was with up to 200 Mallard, a good count for the area, in Barn Bight. Please check back to yesterday for the aforementioned omission as well as some updated vis-mig numbers. 

September 28th

Meadow Pipit
There was a constant presence of Meadow Pipit over and on the area today – Clinton Whale
Brent Goose & Wigeon
Although the temperatures were well over twenty degrees,
there was plenty of winter suggestion - Brent Goose and Wigeon – Clinton Whale
The wind varied about east throughout the day, but the constantly clear skies seemed to thwart any significant movement of birds. That said, there was a constant trickle of Meadow Pipit, Swallow and House Martin for the morning at least. The only logged counts come from the first hour or so of daylight, when 1300 Swallow, 50 House Martin, 190 Meadow Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 40 alba Wagtail and 20 Linnet, as well as very small number of Goldfinch and Chaffinch, moved east. When the martins started to swarm, however, a peak of 1000 birds was estimated. Also seemingly on the move were Jay, with flocks of nine and six over Wick Fields mid-morning, as well as a few ones-and-twos over Hengistbury earlier. After a hill of 5 Ruff was seen on Solent Meads golf course a few days ago, what must surely be the same birds were happily feeding in the short grass adjacent to The Hiker cafe today, apparently oblivious to the goings-on around them. Keeping with waders, there was a single Knot on Blackberry Point, while others at Stanpit in general included: 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe and 31 Dunlin. One continuing absentee, however, is the regular spotted redshank, which is now a month overdue for what would be its eighth-winter in Stanpit Creek. Other than a carpet of Meadow Pipit across most areas, settled passerines were sparse but did include a couple of Wheatear on Crouch Hill, plus 9 Blackcap and 12 Chiffchaff on the Long Field. A single Pintail was in the Wigeon flock, the Brent Goose numbered twenty-eight and a Kingfisher hunted around Crouch Hill.

Omission: a Ring Ouzel was in the North Scrubs and a Common Tern passed west over the Barn Field.

Additional news: it seems most of the morning's visible-migration was over the eastern end of the head, from where 2 Woodlark, 4 Redpoll, 11 Siskin, 55 Goldfinch, 85 Chaffinch, 190 Linnet, 3 Tree Pipit, 8 Grey Wagtail, 470 Meadow Pipit, 3500 Swallow and 1000 House Martin were turned in. Meanwhile, 4 Whitethroat were on the deck and Holloway's Dock contained 2 Knot, 4 Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit.

September 27th

A light, northerly wind and all-day cloud cover sparked an early-morning, easterly movement over Hengistbury. In the period to 9:30, 2030 Meadow Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 10 Grey Wagtail, 205 alba Wagtail, 245 Linnet, 1200 Swallow and a Kestrel all passed through. Later in the morning, however, the Swallow started to linger and with them House Martin - out of several hundred birds present, the approximate ratio was 70:30 respectively. Just after first light, a Ring Ouzel overflew the HHC; then a short time later, one heard calling from the Batters picked up and headed high east over the Nursery. The remaining passerine records are all from Hengistbury and from between 11:00 to 15:00, when a Firecrest, a Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 12 Blackcap, 80 Chiffchaff, 3 Wheatear, 25 Goldcrest and 18 Stonechat were logged. In addition, 3 Greenshank crossed the harbour, while 2 Knot, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe and 36 Dunlin were settled at Stanpit; as were 23 Brent Goose. 

September 26th

Jackdaw – Alan Crockard

There is relatively little to report for today. Migration over Hengistbury was slow, with just 56 Swallow and 77 Meadow Pipit, all west, to report upon. However, there was a Whinchat on the Barn Field and 5 Yellow Wagtail over Stanpit, where a Ruff was present - meanwhile, a latish Whimbrel was on Wick Hams. Also over, a Hobby above the Long Field and the tame Tufted Duck heading upriver with 3 Mallard. After a week or so of intermittent and late postings, we should now be back to normal.

September 25th

Today's highlights were both seen late morning. Firstly, a Richard's Pipit was by the Rusty Boat on Stanpit, before it flew off towards Priory Marsh; then around the same time a Lapland Bunting came in off the sea and passed over the sandspit towards the Salt Hurns. Earlier, there was quite a fall of common migrants including an influx of Robin and Stonechat with counts of 80 and 50 respectively, these mainly on the Barn Field. In fact most of the action was across the Barn and Long Fields, where Chiffchaff numbered 250, as well as 50 Reed Bunting, 45 Blackcap, 7 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whinchat, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Wheatear and a Redstart. Overhead, 500 Meadow Pipit were logged, plus 7 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Siskin, 5 Grey Wagtail and 4 Tree Pipit. On Stanpit there was just a single Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail. There was also the rather odd sight of 5 Ruff and a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the Solent Meads Golf Course, a gathering that is possibly unprecedented for that area! Otherwise waders were sparse, the numbers at Stanpit being 7 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Snipe. A Garganey was flying round the harbour and 3 late Common Tern moved through, also today 2 Kingfisher and a Mediterranean Gull.

September 24th

Sanderling – Olly Frampton

A brief spell of heavy rain mid-morning brought field activity to an early close today.  Earlier, other than a few Swallow, there was virtually no overhead movement. A Firecrest in the Wood and a Whinchat on the Long Field were the best on offer at Hengistbury, where 58 Chiffchaff, 12 Goldcrest, 10 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear and a Grey Wagtail were also logged. Meanwhile, another 3 Wheatear and 10 Yellow Wagtail were on Stanpit. The only wader news is of the Whimbrel on Wick Hams and a Sanderling on the sandspit. A lone Fulmar was off the Beach Huts and a Raven headed north over the harbour.

September 23rd

Little Egret
Little Egret – Ali Germain
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Ali Germain
Bar-tailed Godwit
This apparently injured Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit
seems to be in no great distress – Tom Crockard

This morning's low temperature coupled with some early mist and a light northerly wind meant that one or two of the regulars were wearing gloves for the first time this autumn! The head received coverage from dawn until lunchtime and the highlight was a Yellow-browed Warbler, which was in the bushes at the eastern end, together with 2 Firecrest and a few Chiffchaff. Earlier a Ring Ouzel was flushed from Warren Hill. Once the mist cleared the overhead movement picked up - Meadow Pipit were the most numerous with 970 birds counted, also 750 House Martin, 730 Swallow, 95 alba Wagtail, 48 Linnet, 16 Blackbird, 9 Grey Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Redpoll and a Mistle Thrush. The bushes held a total of 120 Chiffchaff, 32 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler, while 4 Wheatear were also logged. The Wigeon flock has now increased to more than 300 birds, but the Brent Geese remain at 18; another four of these moved west. Holloway's Dock held 9 Black-tailed Godwit and singles of Greenshank, Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit, while the only wader news from Stanpit is of a further 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit.

September 22nd

Whinchat – Steve Birt
Pheasant family – Jean Southworth

Conditions were fairly similar to yesterday, although the wind was from the west for the first time in almost a month.  Migration over Hengistbury was steady with Swallow and Meadow Pipit being the most numerous with totals of 478 and 408 respectively; also 15 House Martin and 2 Grey Wagtail, plus 12 Yellow Wagtail, the latter over Stanpit. The North Scrubs had a good mix of migrants with 40 Chiffchaff, 35 Blackcap, 5 Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat, while a Whinchat and 5 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.  A further 3 Wheatear were at Hengistbury, where 107 Chiffchaff were logged; also 36 Blackcap, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Whitethroat, plus a Reed Warbler in Wick Ditch. A couple of Kingfisher were seen, 3 Pintail arrived over the Barn Field, singles of Whimbrel and Snipe were on Wick Hams and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit travelled west.

Additional news: an Arctic Skua, an Arctic Tern and 4 Mediterranean Gull were off Mudeford Quay in the evening.

September 21st

On a fine morning, which was a definite improvement on the previous two days, the monthly Wetland Bird Survey was carried out. More of that later, however, as migration picked up again today with 363 House Martin, 296 Swallow and 222 Meadow Pipit moving over Hengistbury; also 2 Grey Wagtail plus singles of Mistle Thrush and Tree Pipit, all these travelling east. Grounded migrants were also a little more evident than of late; in particular Wheatear, with a day's total of thirty-one split more or less evenly between both sides of the harbour. A Whinchat was on Crouch Hill, while a late Willow Warbler was on Wick together with a Lesser Whitethroat; also 10 Yellow Wagtail, 20 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat were logged.  Highlights of the WeBS were 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a Golden Plover; other wader totals were 54 Dunlin, 26 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Knot, 5 Snipe, 4 Ruff, 3 Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel, the latter still on Wick Hams.  The Brent Goose flock has crept up to eighteen, while Wigeon and Teal numbered 256 and 56 respectively, the latter on the low side; also 11 Shoveler and 2 Pintail. There were three sightings of Raven - eight south over Wick, eleven east over the end of the Head and a further two birds also over Hengistbury. A Peregrine made regular visits terrorising the waders throughout. To round up, a Dartford Warbler remained on Crouch Hill and 2 Mediterranean Gull were on Stanpit.

September 20th

For the first couple of hours of daylight low lying cloud and mist over the harbour meant poor visibility, hence migrant numbers were low. The morning's highlight, however, was a Pectoral Sandpiper on East Marsh, Stanpit. Unfortunately the bird didn't linger long before flying off to the north. Priory Marsh was checked but there was no sign of the bird. There were still 5 Curlew Sandpiper together with 10 Knot, 3 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank at Stanpit, while another Greenshank was on Hengistbury, as was a Whimbrel. As the murk slowly cleared, overhead passage picked up so that by mid-morning 332 Meadow Pipit, 240 House Martin, a Grey Wagtail and a few Swallow had moved through. On the ground, between Wick and the Long Field, were singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear, plus 48 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap and 3 Whitethroat. A Whinchat and 2 Dartford Warbler were on Crouch Hill, Stanpit.

September 19th

The terrific thunderstorm which started around 7:00 this morning certainly put a dampener on any early field activity.  After the rain eased, however, an hour's watch from Double Dykes produced no more than a few Meadow Pipit and 75 Swallow east. One of yesterday's Whimbrel was still on Wick Hams and a Kingfisher flew up Wick Ditch. A further 200 Swallow moved east past Mudeford Quay, while 2 Brent Geese moved in the opposite direction. Stanpit held a reasonable selection of waders this afternoon including 5 Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Little Stint, also the Ruff was present plus 37 Dunlin, 26 Knot, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Turnstone and a Greenshank while this morning a Jack Snipe was flushed adjacent to the main path. A female Shoveler and 14 Brent Geese were in Stanpit Bight and 5 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. Finally, an Osprey made a late afternoon visit to the harbour.

September 18th

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting on the Barn Field – Jean Southworth
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Lauren Bissell
The hirundine passage was much reduced this morning as the wind had slightly more north in it. House Martin totalled 790 and Swallow a much more modest 235, while 170 Meadow Pipit and 2 Grey Wagtail were also logged. Wick Fields held 2 Spotted Flycatcher and the Barn Field a single Whinchat. Elsewhere, there were 6 Wheatear, 4 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler and 20 Chiffchaff. A Wood Sandpiper and 3 Curlew Sandpiper were the pick from Stanpit, also 22 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and one each of Ruff, Snipe and Ringed Plover, while 2 Whimbrel were on Wick Hams. Wigeon numbers are building up with 236 in Stanpit Bight today, but only 3 Brent Geese were present. The only other news is of a Hobby over Stanpit this morning and of the arrival of a Shelduck over Double Dykes.

September 17th

The wind strengthened somewhat today but was still from the east, hence the hirundine passage continued unabated with Swallow again the dominant species. In just under six hours between 7:00 and 13:00, an estimated 17400 Swallow and 6850 House Martin moved through, also logged were 610 Meadow Pipit, 9 alba Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail and a lone Sand Martin. However, grounded migrants were again at a premium with just a single Whinchat on the Barn Field, two each of Wheatear and Whitethroat, plus a few Chiffchaff.  The waders on Stanpit were checked at various times throughout the day - the highlights being a Jack Snipe this afternoon and 3 Curlew Sandpiper on-site. There were also 15 Knot, 2 Ruff, a Grey Plover still sporting its summer plumage, a Sanderling, a Greenshank, a Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 62 Dunlin. A first-year Yellow-legged Gull was over Wick Hams and 3 adult Mediterranean Gull were about the area. Peregrine put in three appearances today, a couple before 7:00, then a bird terrorising the waders on Stanpit later; also a Common Buzzard over Ashtree Meadows. To round up, a Kingfisher was in Stanpit Creek and 2 Brent Geese were on the marsh.

September 16th

Jay – Alan Hayden

The overhead, easterly movement continued but in reduced numbers - the total estimated over Hengistbury coming to 5000 Swallow, 3-4000 House Martin and 150+ Meadow Pipit. It’s interesting that today the Swallow outnumbered the martins. The waders at Stanpit were well covered and included: a Ruff, an Avocet, a Golden Plover, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 14 Knot, 7 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 89 Dunlin. The remaining news comes from a Whinchat and 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field, plus a Kingfisher in Barn Bight. With many of the regulars now spread across the southern tip of New Jersey, the Gulf of Riga and the western Black Sea, then coverage of the area may be a little reduced in the coming days.

September 15th

Goldfinch – Alan Hayden

Still the wind blows from the east and still the House Martin keep coming. Prior to 10:00 this morning, over 10500 were estimated to have already moved east; while at 10:00, when the area was left, 5-7000 birds were still swarming over the head. Also in the day’s numbers, 3000 Swallow, 870 Meadow Pipit, 18 Tree Pipit, 41 Yellow Wagtail, 22 Grey Wagtail and 22 alba Wagtail, all east. A group of 4 Common Tern and 50 or so Sandwich Tern feeding off the end of the head briefly attracted a Grey Phalarope, but it was soon forced to leave after having attracted the attention of some gulls. A Ruff was also seen from Hengistbury, as was a Garganey that arrived in a flock of Wigeon. There were again 3 Curlew Sandpiper at Stanpit, as well as 3 Golden Plover that left north, 14 Knot, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, with a further two in Holloway’s Dock, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 16 Black-tailed Godwit. Meanwhile, a small Canada Goose was watched leaving the harbour towards the valley with the now regularly roosting larger birds. The land was fairly quiet, although 60 Chiffchaff were across Wick and Hengistbury, as were a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whinchat and 8 Wheatear. Of note, acrocephalus warblers are still moving through the area - 11 Sedge Warbler and 3 Reed Warbler ringed this morning. The customary mention of Kingfisher involves a bird around Wick Hams.

September 14th

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper – Alan Crockard
Redshank – Alan Crockard

It was another great day for House Martin, but before those details mention of an incredible record of 5 Tree Sparrow that came up from the northern section of Wick and headed off inland. In almost identical conditions to yesterday, i.e. a north wind that turned to east, there was a similar total of House Martin, but in a slightly shorter time span. Between 7:00 and 9:00, around 12000 were estimated to move east over Hengistbury, but when that movement abruptly stopped a further 2000 were logged at Stanpit. Actually, there were still birds reported to be moving over the head later, but at a greatly reduced rate of ten or so a minute. Swallow also travelled, but in far fewer numbers than yesterday - 650 being their estimate, along with just under 500 Meadow Pipit, 4 Tree Pipit, 5 Grey Wagtail, 5 alba Wagtail and a very high-flying Great Spotted Woodpecker. Stanpit again hosted a good wader mix - 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 9 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 56 Dunlin amongst it. Meanwhile, settled migrants across the area included: 2 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Redstart. A Kingfisher was in the typical spot of Wick Hams and a couple of Mediterranean Gull were off Mudeford Quay.

September 13th

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Oystercatcher – Alan Crockard

The early wind was from the north, but it soon started to shift clockwise and by late afternoon was coming from the south-east. This triggered the best hirundine movement of the autumn so far, with 14000 House Martin passing east over Hengistbury prior to 11:00. Some of the movement was direct - for example, three separate one-minute sample counts each produced 2-300 purposeful birds - but for a 30-minute spell, there were up to three-thousand feeding over the top of the head, before moving on. In addition, 6500 Swallow, 10 Sand Martin, 27 Yellow Wagtail, 19 Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 310 Meadow Pipit travelled in the same direction. Not surprisingly, the bushes didn’t get too much attention, but there were: a Firecrest behind the Nursery, two, but possibly three, Grasshopper Warbler calling by the Natterjack Pond, 3 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Blackcap and 14 Chiffchaff turned in from both Hengistbury and Wick. Incoming wildfowl were again a feature, not least the first two returning Brent Goose inside the harbour and seen to arrive this morning, while a further six passed east at sea; also a Garganey at Stanpit, as well as 9 Shoveler and 225 Teal in Parky Meade Rail. The settled Wigeon numbered just over fifty, but a further twenty-six moved through, ditto a couple of Pintail. The wader variety was headed by 2 Ruff and a Spotted Redshank seen from Hengistbury, with Stanpit logging: 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Knot, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, 3 Greenshank, a Whimbrel, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 24 Black-tailed Godwit; plus 10 Snipe arriving over the Coastguards. A poor seawatch mustered a Fulmar, 6 Common Gull and 6 Mediterranean Gull, but little else, and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge. 

September 12th

Blackcap – Alan Hayden

It’s the time of year when that elusive target of 20 species of wader in a day becomes a realistic achievement - today, however, fell one short, when Stanpit hosted: a Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, one of them a stunning adult, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Sanderling, 4 Knot, 3 Whimbrel, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Turnstone, 10 Ringed Plover, 65 Dunlin, a Snipe, 120 Redshank and 40 Curlew, as well as uncounted Oystercatcher and Lapwing. The late afternoon on the marsh saw 2 Osprey - both heading purposefully north - one at 16:25, the other at 17:10. During the morning, there was a brief period of meaningful overhead activity when a bank of low cloud descended over the area, with most of the following recorded during that period: 2300 Swallow, 1300 House Martin, 86 Yellow Wagtail, 30 Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 750 Meadow Pipit and 16 Reed Bunting. These were all seen from the end of the head and cutting into the northerly wind after having crossed Poole Bay. Meanwhile, a flock of 10 flycatcher, nine of them Spotted Flycatcher and the oddity being a Pied Flycatcher, dropped into the bushes there. A further Spotted Flycatcher was on the Long Field, where 2 Wheatear, 25 Whitethroat and 12 Blackcap were also present. The overhead movement also attracted a total of 4 Hobby into the airspace. The sea off the Beach Huts hosted a good number of feeding terns, including one Black Tern, 30 Common Tern and 125 Sandwich Tern, an Arctic Tern was inside the harbour by Mudeford Quay and an additional 57 Common Tern moved westward. The pick of the wildfowl were the first returning Brent Goose, a skein of three west over the head, but also 13 Shelduck, 6 Pintail and 4 Gadwall, along with the now incumbent Wigeon and Teal. A Razorbill was the first auk for a while, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Stanpit, a Kingfisher was in Brewer’s Creek and 4 Raven were logged.

September 11th

House Martin
Swallow topped the numbers yesterday, but today it was House Martin – Alan Hayden
Grey Heron
Grey Heron were also on their travels – Alan Hayden

For a 90-minute spell this morning, hirundines were swarming over Hengistbury before moving off eastwards - the estimates being 8000 House Martin and 3000 Swallow. Also eastbound, an early Woodlark, 103 Yellow Wagtail, 31 Grey Wagtail, the first seven alba Wagtail of the season, 3 Tree Pipit and 330 Meadow Pipit; while a flock of 11 Grey Heron arrived from the west and then headed inland. After a couple of days of relatively scant coverage, the waders at Stanpit again feature. The best was a Wood Sandpiper in the Priory Marsh area, but also a Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin about the marsh; with Hengistbury chipping in with a Ruff to the west. A flock of terns off the Natterjack Pond area included 2 Roseate Tern, a juvenile Arctic Tern and 11 Common Tern, but they then headed into the Solent, as did a Great Skua and all of the day’s Gannet. There were few reports of settled passerines, although 2 Firecrest and 30 Goldcrest were around the Nursery, 2 Garden Warbler were at Stanpit and 4 Lesser Whitethroat were adjacent to the HHC. To conclude, there was a variety of duck logged, including: 23 Pintail, 8 Shoveler, 49 Wigeon and 78 Teal.

September 10th

Most Whimbrel seem to have now gone through,
but this bird passed over the HHC this morning – Alan Hayden
Dunlin – Alan Crockard
Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler – Alan Hayden
Grey Heron
Grey Heron – Clinton Whale
...and some of the day's Swallow passage – Alan Hayden

It wasn’t quite as good as last night’s rather optimistic suggestion alluded it might be. In fact, it was birds of prey that provided the most interest: this morning, a Merlin headed north-east over Stanpit; while during the afternoon, Osprey were seen from Hengistbury at 12:45 and 14:45. The Swallow passage was conspicuous, but not massive in terms of numbers - a two hour estimate from the head came up with 1200 birds, with a shorter spell at Stanpit producing around a thousand - so a day-estimate of just over two-thousand would not seem unreasonable. Also moving, mainly over the marsh, were 43 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit, along with a Spotted Flycatcher settled there. Once more the whole of Wick and Hengistbury was covered from the early morning to mid-afternoon - the best being a Firecrest in the No Dogs Field on Wick. The feeling was that Whitethroat numbers were down on yesterday, eighteen making the post, as well as 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 24 Blackcap, a Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher, 22 Willow Warbler and 7 Chiffchaff. In addition to the above mentioned Whimbrel, there were 4 Knot at Stanpit, plus a Greenshank and 4 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. To wrap up, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 6 Shoveler were about, and 2 Kingfisher were at Wick Hams. 

September 9th

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
The last week or so has seen a good run of Marsh Harrier sightings – Alan Hayden
Sparrowhawk at the end of the sandspit just after first light – Ann Parramore
Sedge Warbler
...and it's understood that Sedge Warbler
were again around in some numbers – Alan Hayden

The best for the day was a female-type Marsh Harrier that circuited the northern shore of Hengistbury before heading back north, from whence it had come. Coverage of all the head from early on until just after lunch produced a decent selection of species, but in reasonably modest numbers. On the deck, there were: a Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, a Lesser Whitethroat, 14 Blackcap, 13 Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff and 8 Goldcrest; while Whitethroat, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler were around in some quantity, but perhaps not as abundant as yesterday. Overhead, 3 Kestrel, 4 Grey Wagtail, one of them in-off later in the morning, a Yellow Wagtail and 15 Meadow Pipit were noted, as well as uncounted, but moving, Swallow. The most remarkable wader record for the post, if not the year, was a count of 300 Oystercatcher at Stanpit, where 70 Dunlin and a further 2 Wheatear were present, and 2 Greenshank were in Barn Bight. This evening, the breeze at Mudeford Quay seemed to be coming from the south-east - it could be good tomorrow!

September 8th

Dawn at the HHC – Mike Davidson
Whinchat on the Barn Field – Alan Hayden
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher, not a very frequently ringed bird in the area – Leo Pyke

Before moving into the detail of the day, a Wryneck was seen very briefly on the bonfire site in the north-west corner of Stanpit recreation ground this afternoon. After some light cloud at dawn, it soon cleared to blue skies that lasted for the entire day. However, a westerly breeze seemed to largely stifle the overhead movement, but birds on the ground offered more than a degree of compensation. In particular, the Sedge Warbler numbers are very noteworthy for what is now a late date for the species - thirty-two were trapped in the reedbed ride and the field estimate from all habitats was a hundred or so. One comment made about that ratio concerns an old-ringer’s tale that only a tiny percentage of birds on-site at a given time are actually caught, so if that's true one can’t help wondering just how many may have been around. Another bird present in numbers was Blackcap, 130 being the estimate - twelve of them in one net round in the reeds! In addition, 2 Garden Warbler, 80+ Whitethroat, 7 Reed Warbler, all in the nets, 50 Chiffchaff, 12 Willow Warber, 10 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Whinchat and 11 Wheatear were logged. Also, 2 Kingfisher ringed. Meanwhile, a single Siskin passed over, along with 75 Yellow Wagtail, 15 Grey Wagtail and 9 Tree Pipit; but the hirundine passage never really got going with the birds very indecisive about which way to head. A Hobby that visited the area to take a look at the flocks was quickly escorted away by a Sparrowhawk, while 9 Shoveler and a couple of Raven were also over the head. This evening at Stanpit, there was precious little change in the recent wader situation, with 12 Knot, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ringed Plover, around 50 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone and 3 Snipe being the best on offer. 

September 7th

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper – Alan Hayden
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail around the ponies on Stanpit. It's amazing to think that in a couple of month's time these birds could be searching out wildebeest instead! – Alan Hayden
The morning was afflicted by pretty severe fog, so it was the later part of the day at Stanpit that salvages the post. The Wood Sandpiper was again present, seeming to come up from Central Marsh and then spending some time on the mud in Stanpit Bight before being presumed, from the vectors of the constant calls, to return to its original spot. Also around the bight on the rising tide, an Avocet, 11 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, up to 20 Black-tailed Godwit, at least 10 Turnstone, several Ringed Plover and 40 or so Dunlin. In addition, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a few settled Yellow Wagtail, a Kingfisher, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and a drake Gadwall were about the marsh. Back to the morning and what could be seen of it! That said, Swallow and House Martin could be heard up there somewhere in the soup - but birds actually seen overhead came to a paltry 5 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit and a Common Tern. There was stuff in the bushes, although in fairly modest numbers, including: 9 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 22 Whitethroat and 19 Blackcap, as well as 3 Wheatear, two of which were perched on the roof of the Barn. A further Kingfisher sighting came from the HHC, a couple of Raven headed along the sandspit and, this evening, a few Rook came to roost in the Nursery.

September 6th

Marsh Warbler
Marsh Warbler
This Marsh Warbler was the undoubted highlight of the members' day
– Jean Southworth (upper) & Leo Pyke
Great Spotted Woodpecker
while two Great Spotted Woodpecker also proved popular – Barrie Taylor
Members' Day
Members' Day
...and a couple of images capturing the activities of the morning – Chris Chapleo

Just as it looked as if the birds had dried up for the morning, one of the last net rounds of the members’ day produced a Marsh Warbler. This is an extremely rare bird for the area, but remarkably the second one this year after the ‘singer’ at Stanpit in late July. Although, by the time the guided walk started, it seemed quiet, while the ringing and moth demonstration was in full swing, there were a good number of birds passing over Hengistbury. It was a good day for Yellow Wagtail - a total 145 birds passing over the western end of the head, but good numbers were also to found settled on the sandspit - as well as 23 Grey Wagtail, 27 Tree Pipit, 390 Meadow Pipit, 2500 Swallow, 120 Sand Martin and 90 House Martin; all heading east into the slight breeze. Meanwhile, on the deck, a Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, 45 Whitethroat, 35 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler and 20 Willow Warbler were also logged. To finish at Hengistbury, a Bar-tailed Godwit departed west over the Barn, 3 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight and a Peregrine passed over Wick. Around the same time, a Roseate Tern was off Mudeford Quay, with 5 Sanderling and 4 Common Sandpiper also being seen from there. At Stanpit, on the late afternoon flood tide, there were 15 Knot, but eight of them were in a flock that inspected the area and quickly moved on without stopping, a Greenshank, 2 Sanderling, 10 Turnstone, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 or so Dunlin and 15 Ringed Plover. 

September 5th

Before and after - the unfortunate demise of a Starling to a Sparrowhawk – Alan Crockard

Although several of those who were out this morning were bemoaning how quiet it was, if one overlooked the paucity of common migrants there was actually a fair bit of interest. After having been seen a couple of times in the morning, what was presumably the same Wood Sandpiper as from a couple of days ago spent most of the afternoon on South Marsh, before secreting itself in Central Marsh. On Hengistbury, there were 2 Firecrest in the Nursery, as well as a Grasshopper Warbler in that area; while just after first light, an adult male Marsh Harrier, so sporting a plumage rarely seen in the area, flew downriver and then coasted eastward. Meanwhile, given the date, a Swift over Stanpit was another bonus. No doubt it was the strange combination of little wind and full set of oktas that stifled any real passerine movement; nevertheless, spread across the site, there were: a Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, a Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 15 Willow Warbler and 4 Chiffchaff, along with a minimum of 8 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit over. There were no detailed wader returns, but in addition to the ‘wood-sand’, single Green Sandpiper were seen at Stanpit and from the HHC, an Avocet passed high to the west, a Greenshank was in Holloway’s Dock, the Common Sandpiper totaled 11 birds and 9 Knot were logged, six on the marsh and three over the Barn Field. Late summer Shelduck are always a bit of an event, so a party of six this morning is worth a mention; also 3 Bearded Tit in the Wick reeds and 2 Kingfisher in Mother Siller’s Channel. This evening, at least 15 Yellow Wagtail were feeding up at Stanpit, a good proportion of them at the feet of the ponies. 

September 4th

Featuring events from outside of the defined recording area always courts a little controversy, but this colour-ringed Wheatear seen a couple of days ago and photographed by Tony Adamcik at Gordon’s Zig-Zag, Southbourne, which is only a few hundred meters out-of-bounds, is certainly worth the risk. Thanks to and the prompt response of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, we were able to learn the bird was ringed as a juvenile on the island in August 2012. Interestingly, the wing length was in the overlap zone of the nominate race, oenanthe, and the Icelandic or Greenland breeding race, leuchorhoa, so meaning the bird couldn’t be confirmed as having being raised in the UK or much further to the north-west.

Another ringing ditty concerns the second ‘long-staying’ Willow Warbler of the autumn - a bird caught yesterday in the HHC reeds was initially there on Monday. In tandem with
a bird re-trapped a week or so ago, this further challenges the accepted theory that
passerine migrants are moving straight through the area.
Emerald Damselfly
Emerald Damselfly, quite unusual in the area,

but there are currently good numbers on Hengistbury – Chris Chapleo

It was much quieter this morning than of late, with ‘crests perhaps providing the most to remark upon. In addition to 38 Goldcrest spread across Hengistbury, a Firecrest was attempting some kind of song in the Nursery.  The hirundine passage took some time to get going, but eventually chalked up 2000 Swallow, 1700 House Martin and 100 Sand Martin, while others overhead at Hengistbury included 41 Yellow Wagtail, 14 Grey Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit, 35 Meadow Pipit and 3 Siskin, the latter the first real evidence of the autumn finches. Meanwhile, the bushes on the head held: 5 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, plus a bird ringed, 3 Wheatear and 20 Willow Warbler, but just 3 Whitethroat were turned in. In addition, over on Stanpit, there were 6 Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and 4 Wheatear. Waders were also down on yesterday, although 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 10 Sanderling went past the Beach Huts; with other notables including 12 Knot in Stanpit Bight and a couple of Greenshank that spent their time between Stanpit and Holloway’s Dock, as well as 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Snipe and 25 Ringed Plover around the marsh. An effort was made to look at the sea, where a Buzzard moving west was a real surprise, but the rest comprised just a juvenile Arctic Tern and 8 Common Tern. Wildfowl variety continued with 2 Shoveler joining around 20 Wigeon and 21 Teal on-site, where the early morning also witnessed a rather disturbing presence of 200 Canada Goose. The miscellany for the day involved: 32 Little Egret together in Holloway’s Dock, 3 Raven, 3 Kingfisher and an adult Mediterranean Gull. 

September 3rd 

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper in a small pool on South Marsh this afternoon
– Bob Moore (upper & lower), Olly Frampton (middle)

Although the morning wind was actually from the north, it was still a good period of overhead action - not least from raptors. There were probably 4 Osprey involved: a bird that eventually caught a fish at 8:30; an individual directly south around 20-minutes later; and then two fishing either ends of the harbour some time afterwards. In addition, a couple of Marsh Harrier headed east over the area, as did nine purposeful Sparrowhawk, and late in the morning, during a 15-minute spell, the same number of Buzzard headed south over Two Riversmeet, including a flock of nine. Keeping on the theme of large birds, 7 Grey Heron travelled westward. Hirundines were also on the move to the east, with the morning’s estimates coming to: 6500 Swallow, 750 House Martin and 220 Sand Martin; while  81 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Grey Wagtail, 21 Tree Pipit and 33 Meadow Pipit went in various directions. With all the Osprey activity, the harbour was in an almost constant state-of-panic, meaning waders and wildfowl were spending much of their time airborne and some of them seeming to leave the area. Therefore, the following is a bit of a mish-mash, but does attempt to estimate the peak figures. A Wood Sandpiper was present most of the day, best seen on South Marsh, but a Curlew Sandpiper didn’t hang around for long, ditto a Spotted Redshank and an Avocet; with other waders from across the area including: a Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 27 Knot, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Snipe, 4 Ringed Plover and 47 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the best of the wildfowl was 3 Garganey, one at Stanpit and two over Hengistbury, plus 7 Pintail, 37 Wigeon and 47 Teal. No doubt due to the wind direction there was not so much grounded interest, although Hengistbury hosted a Pied Flycatcher this evening, with other totals reckoned to be: perhaps 15 Spotted Flycatcher, some of those late this afternoon behind the Nursery, 3 Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 6 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 28 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiifchaff and 4 Blackcap. To supplement those returns, there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Wheatear at Stanpit.

September 2nd

There was a good showing of Osprey today, with three in total: during the morning sightings were had of birds heading south or south-east at 07:25 and 09:30 respectively; while the afternoon saw a bird successfully fish the harbour and head off north-west with its catch, a little prior to 4:00. Meanwhile, with the wind varying about east throughout the day, other raptors seemingly on the move over the area were a Buzzard and 2 Kestrel. The conditions also presented a good passage of Swallow, with 3000+ being a very, very conservative estimate over two hours this morning; while later in the day there were still birds on the move, three hundred or so over Hengistbury, as well as smaller numbers of Sand Martin. As may be expected in such a breeze, there was a good showing of passerines - the following list, excepting a few of the Wheatear and Whinchat, coming from Hengistbury and Wick: a Pied Flycatcher, a minimum of 5 Spotted Flycatcher, two in the morning and five after lunch, 4 Redstart, 9 Whinchat, 18 Wheatear, 7 Tree Pipit, 12 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Sedge Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 40+ Whitethroat, 27 Willow Warbler and 8 Chiffchaff, the latter pair already upsetting a comment from yesterday. An afternoon visit to the sea at the south-east tip of the head saw a Roseate Tern amongst 140 Common Tern, plus an Arctic Skua. Finally, we get to waders, which today at Stanpit included: a Little Stint, 4 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 12 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin; in addition, a Common Sandpiper was in Holloway’s Dock. Also about the area, 9 Shoveler, 10 Wigeon, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull, a Raven and a Kingfisher.

September 1st 

Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit – Alan Hayden
A couple of young Redstart – Alan Hayden
...and a Fulmar over the Long Field – Alan Hayden

In light drizzle and little wind, there was another reasonable spread of migrants across Hengistbury and Wick this morning - the list comprising: a Pied Flycatcher, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 70+ Blackcap, the best day for those so far, 45 Whitethroat, 25 Chiffchaff and 12 Willow Warbler, the ‘chiffs’ now perhaps starting to dominate the numbers; plus a couple of Wheatear, but one of those actually on Stanpit. There were also 4 Tree Pipit and 16 Yellow Wagtail recorded from the head, where an influx of up to 40 Robin was noted. Meanwhile, there were better numbers of Yellow Wagtail on Stanpit and Wick - thirty-one and twenty-one respectively - but duplication is a possibility as birds were seen crossing the river. Just recently, Hengistbury has been receiving some welcome coverage later in the afternoon; when today, 2 Whinchat, not noted earlier, 4 Redstart and 2 Wheatear were turned-in. Around the same time, a juvenile Arctic Tern was off the Natterjack Pond, while during the morning what was quite possibly the same juvenile Arctic Skua from the weekend was off the Beach Huts, likewise 5 Common Scoter, 2 Little Tern were in the Run and a Fulmar glided over the Long Field. Also over that field, a Hobby. Wader records are not numerous, although a Spotted Redshank and 4 Black-tailed Godwit left to the west, 3 Greenshank were seen inside the harbour from Hengistbury, 4 Sanderling were logged from Mudeford Quay and 2 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Snipe were at Stanpit. Finally, 6 Wigeon were in Stanpit Bight and there were three sightings of Kingfisher about the marsh, one involving two birds. 

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